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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We are Jose Campaign goes International!


LOGO We are JOse

READ ON JAN.16 2011

A Canadian campaign to reverse the deportation
order against José Figueroa

Canada and El Salvador, Jan.16, 2011 - Today, We Are Jose. José Figueroa could be any one of us. He has lived happily in his Langley, BC, community, just outside Vancouver, for over 13 years with his wife, Ivannia, and three Canadian children.  As they built new lives after fleeing danger in El Salvador, they worked hard and became leading members of their local Lutheran church.  Again, their story is ours.

Then, out of the blue, José and his wife were told they were no longer welcome in Canada and were going to be deported.

Vigil in San Salvador at the Peace monument with support of Sigfrido Reyes,
Elected Member and President of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, FMLN

The reason?  As a university student more than 20 years ago, José was associated with the Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation, or FMLN, the broad coalition of opposition forces fighting the ruthless Salvadorean government of the time.

Vigil in Toronto at the San Lorenzo Church with Father Hernán Astudillo,
 Toronto, ON

Indeed, supporting the FMLN was the conscious and courageous choice of countless Salvadoreans trying to free themselves from the tyranny of a Salvadorean state that targeted with impunity priests, nuns, farmers, teachers, workers, professors, students, indeed, anyone opposed to its systematic human rights violations.

And the international community recognized Salvadoreans’ right to defend themselves against oppression.  The FMLN was widely acknowledged as a legitimate and representative opposition organization and as a vital element to bringing democracy to El Salvador.

Vigil in Ottawa at the Human Rights monument

After signing UN-sponsored peace accords with the Salvadorean government exactly 19 years ago today (peace accords that Canada explicitly supported), the FMLN went on to become a leading political party and won the presidency in 2009.  The Canadian government recognized that election as free and fair and even sent a representative, then Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas and now Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, to President Mauricio Funes’ inauguration.
Vigil in Ottawa with support of renowned Guatemalan artist, Tito Medina

Still, Canadian border and immigration authorities consider José a threat to Canadian security because of his links to the current democratically elected and internationally recognized governing party of El Salvador, the FMLN.  It simply doesn’t make sense.  And we simply want our government to realize as much.

José, Ivannia, and their three Canadian children are no threats to Canada.  On the contrary, they are exactly the kind of people who have built this great country. 

Vigil in San Salvador at the monument dedicated to Monseñor Romero

Their fate lies in the hands of Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews.  Supporters of the WE ARE JOSE campaign demand that Minister Toews immediately grant José Figueroa an exemption that declares him no threat to national security and that allows the Figueroa family to continue leading productive lives in Canada.  We further demand that he ensure that the FMLN and its many supporters are no longer mischaracterized as threats by Canadian authorities. 
Vigil in Langley, BC, at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church. WE ARE JOSE mural done by Jose himself
in honour of all his supporters and for fundraising.

By this, he will honour the Salvadorean Peace Agreement we celebrate today and do what’s right.

Supporters of José:

Martin Sheen, actor and activist, CA, USA
Jamie Moffet, Director, Return to El Salvador, Philadelphia, USA
Mark Warawa, Conservative Member of Parliament for Langley, BC
Don Davies, NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway, BC
Peter Julian, NDP Member of Parliament for Burnaby-New Westminster, BC
Sigfrido Reyes, Elected Member and President of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, FMLN
Jorge Schafik Handal Vega Silva, Elected Member of Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, President of the External Relations, Central American Integration, and Salvadoreans Abroad Commission, FMLN
Fredy Tejada, Elected Member, Central American Parliament, FMLN
Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC
Pastor Sebastian Meadows-Helmer, Thornhill, ON
The Thornhill Ecumenical Ministerial, Thornhill, ON
San Lorenzo Anglican Parrish and Community Centre, Toronto, ON
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario Division
Salvadorian Canadian Association of Ottawa and National Capital Region (ASCORCAN), Ottawa, ON
Barrio Nuevo, Toronto, ON
Maxwell Cameron, Professor of Political Science, University of British Colombia, BC
Jerry Spiegel, Professor and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Studies, University of British Colombia,
Katherine Reilly, Professor, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, BC
Kerry Preibisch, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, ON
Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor, Osgoode Law School, York University, ON
Oswaldo Ventura, Coordinator, FMLN-Toronto, Toronto, ON
Réseau de la commission populaire / People’s Commission Network, Montréal, QC
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, Toronto, ON
El Salvador Sister Cities Network, Milwaukee, USA
Justicia for Migrant Workers, Toronto, ON
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Ottawa, ON
Radio Cadena Mi Gente, El Salvador
La Re-Vista Radio, Vancouver, BC
Comisión Internacional del FNRP
El Comité Muralla 700 de Ottawa-Gatineau
RAICES Latin American Cultural Society, Vancouver, BC
The Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle/HOV, Toronto, ON
Pastor Karl Keller, Langley, BC
Students at Simon Fraser University, BC
Students at University of British Colombia, BC
Pastor William Osmar Chamagua, Virginia, USA
And many others…

==30 ==

For all Enquiries media and other:
Ottawa: Laura Avalos, Salvadorian Canadian Association of Ottawa, 819.319.0904
Toronto: René Guerra Salazar, Barrio Nuevo, 416.939.2892
Vancouver: Sasha Wood, 604.540.2126,
Langley, B.C., Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, 20530-88 Avenue, Langley, BC, 604-888-1004


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